At one time applying for a passport was a relatively easy process. But as with everything in life, or so it might seem, as we become more and more technologically advanced, things become more and more complicated. So if you have never applied for a passport before, or if you have not applied for one for a considerable time, hopefully you will find this article of value.
You can apply for a passport online. Quite a painless process, if you do not mind using computers or the Internet. Just visit https://passportapplication.service.gov.uk/ips-olc/ and this will take you through the entire process. http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/TravelAndTransport/Passports/index.htm will give you all the information you need on applying for a passport, including a fast track passport application, should you urgently require one.
You can also use the Post Office Check and Send Service. In fact, the government agency the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) does recommend that you make use of this service. But not all Post Offices offer this service.
They will help you by checking your application form and what supporting documents you will be using before they are submitted. It is usually quicker than a normal postal application but not always, it should be pointed out. They will also ensure that the photograph you intend to submit with your application will be acceptable. However, there have been cases when a photograph passed as acceptable by the Post Office have been rejected by the IPS.
The Identity and Passport Service (IPS) recommends that you submit your passport application using the Check & Send service offered by certain Post Office branches. The service includes checking your application form and supporting documents before they are sent off. It is usually faster than a standard postal application. You will need to complete a form with some detailed questions and enclose your birth certificate and a recent passport photograph. You might need to have your application form countersigned by an approved person, who will have to include their passport number.
You will need a countersignature if it is your first passport application, if your appearance has changed so much that you look nothing like your previous passport photograph, to replace a stolen, lost or damaged passport, or if it is for the renewal of the passport from a child who is 11 or younger. It is best to use registered/recorded delivery. Who can countersign a passport? Generally, someone of standing in the community: Such as journalists, councilors, company directors, navy officers, some merchant navy officers, chiropodists, people with honours (MBE, OBE, etc) solicitors, etc.
When your application has been accepted you will receive a call from the IPS’ very efficient and very helpful call centre. Only adults who have never before had a British passport in their own name need to attend an interview. They take you through a few questions and then arrange a time for an interview at a local interview office. If you are an adult who has never held a passport in their own name. But you do not have to use the nearest one. When I arranged my interview I asked for one in a town 30 miles away because, ironically, it was easier for me to get to that office than the one that was only 12 miles away!
The interview is to help guard against identity fraud and will be carried out in a very professional and, I found, friendly manner. Just answer the questions to the best of your ability. I was interviewed on a Saturday afternoon and received my passport -delivered by special courier, on less- on the Tuesday morning. My standard passport cost me £70.